Chris Evans is officially leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe — at least that’s the plan right now. The actor revealed that he does not expect to return as Captain America after “Avengers 4,” but that doesn’t mean the shield will be retired.
The actor, who started playing Steve Rogers in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” told the New York Times that he was planning the 2019 film’s autumn reshoots to be the last time he suits up.
“You want to get off the train before they push you off,” he said.
It isn’t clear how Steve Rogers will leave his gig (there are tons of rumors about superhero deaths), but someone else might pick up the shield. There have been plenty of Captain America replacements in the comics, and the movies have already introduced a few of them.
Bucky Barnes: This option seems to be the most foreshadowed. In every movie with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), he somehow ends up getting the shield. It also fits within a redemption arc. What better way to atone for his sins as a brain washed assassin than to become America’s most storied hero?
Stan also seemed to drop a hint in 2016 at a Nerdist event that he would eventually get to be the star-spangled Avenger. “You know, I was sitting there in a room with [Marvel] and basically they were saying to me that this is what’s gonna happen: He’s gonna be the Winter Soldier, and then eventually he’s gonna become Captain America,” Stan continued. “And I was like, ‘That sounds great,’ but they weren’t at any point telling me what they are gonna do. They still aren’t.”
His nine-movie contract would certainly let him stick around longer than Evans.
Sam Wilson: Falcon (Anthony Mackie) takes over as Cap in the comics, too. We know that he and Steve have similar backgrounds and values. Sam is also a military veteran who just wants to help make the world a safe place. Also, the movies have not explored much of his backstory, leaving plenty of material for future films.
However, Mackie has said that he doesn’t really want anyone else to become Captain America. “I don’t think we need a new Cap. I don’t think Cap needs to change,” Mackie said at Salt Lake City Comic Con in 2015 (via ComicBook.com). ”I think [Sebastian Stan] would be a great Cap, but then we’re left without Bucky. I think I’d be a great Cap, but then we’re left without a Falcon.”
Peggy Carter: Marvel Comics has been having girlfriends become the heroes more often. Jane Foster took over as Thor and Gwen Stacy became Spider-Gwen. Peggy Carter just recently took over as Captain America in one alternate universe.
Despite her TV spinoff ending after just two seasons, Hayley Atwell’s MCU character is still beloved by fans. Perhaps with a little time-travel magic, Peggy could be brought into the present day to pick up where Steve leaves off.
Fans will have to wait to figure out who — if anyone — will be the next Captain America. Luckily, we still have two more Marvel movies with Evans. “Avengers: Infinity War” comes out April 27. “Avengers 4” is due in theaters May 3, 2019.